Monday, April 9, 2012

Eden by Keary Taylor

I picked up Eden by Keary Taylor because of the excellent cover art, and, of course, because it's young adult dystopia, a genre I am unapologetically addicted to. The plot is intriguing, though probably familiar to fans of the genre. Set in the near future, a young woman named Eve with no memory of her past defends a small band of survivors from hoards of cybernetic zombies. The Fall, as it is called in the novel, began as a well-intended (aren't they always?) experiment in nanotechnology that soon went terribly wrong. The "infection" is spread by a mere touch, and the Fallen hunt what few remnants of human civilization remain. Thrown into the mix is a love triangle, a mysterious newcomer, Eve's slow but inevitable discovery of where she came from and the omnipresent threat of the Fallen.

The action begins quickly and is told in the first person, from Eve's point of view. As such, the chapters are interspersed with sections of Eve's own thoughts and feelings, which, after a while, begin to wear thin. Too much time is spent listening to Eve repeat again and again how conflicted her feelings are for her two love interests. These sections are a bit too overwrought - although, considering that Eve is a teenager, perhaps it is appropriate. 

I give Taylor credit for not taking the easy way out when the time comes for Eve to finally decide which boy to choose. I had feared that the story was about to go that way at one point, but thankfully, Eve actually makes a choice, unlike in some other YA dystopias in which one love interest conveniently dies, disappears, leaves or is made otherwise unavailable (such as in the final installment of The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay.)

The world-building in this novel is very good, with some room to kvetch. Without revealing any spoilers, one of the major conflicts is resolved a bit too simply for my taste, almost as an afterthought. Perhaps that's because my personal preference is for action, and not romance, but I would have liked to see the action fleshed out a bit more and the relational drama tightened up.

Eden would have been even better if Taylor had hired a good proofreader and editor (Eden and her other novels are self-published). The text has about 15-20 typos - mostly misspellings and missing punctuation - which took me out of the narrative momentarily. Annoying, but not a deal breaker. That said, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. If you're a forgiving sort of reader and can overlook some errors, give this book a try. I think the author has a great deal of promise and I'll be watching out for her next novels.

~ Allison, Adult Services

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